Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Sep 04, 2002
Railways to run dedicated parcel trains
Raja Simhan T.E.
CHENNAI, Sept. 3
THE Indian Railways will run dedicated `fast parcel weekly express trains'. The Southern Railway will introduce the service between Bangalore and New Delhi and the Northern Railway will run the service in the return direction.
It is for the first time that the Railways would run such a dedicated parcel van trains. Hitherto, the department leased out an entire train to private companies the Millennium Parcel Service in the Mumbai-Guwahati and Delhi-Guwahati sectors.
Further, parcel and luggage vans were leased out to private companies in express trains such as Jammu Tavi and Tamil Nadu Express, said a Southern Railway official.
The dedicated parcel van train will leave Yeshvantpur Junction in Bangalore on Thursdays at 11.30 p.m. and stop at Secunderabad, Nagpur, Jhansi and Agra stations, before reaching New Delhi on Sundays at 4 a.m. The maiden service will leave Bangalore on September 5.
In the return direction, the Northern Railway would run a similar service on every Sunday. The transit time would be 52 hours, the official said.
The dedicated train will have 12 parcel vans, each with 23-tonne capacity, and a second class-cum-luggage van. On board the train will be Railway staff to load and unload parcels at each station (the train will stop for 30 minutes at each station), and Railway police to ensure safe transit. "Theft of cargo was a major concern with the shipper. This would be taken care of now," the official said.
According to him, Container Corporation of India (Concor) used to run dedicated container goods trains between Chennai (Tondiarpet terminal) and Kolkata (Shalimar terminal). However, the service was discontinued within a few months of commissioning.
Cargoes such as grapes (half ripened), fish, eggs and other perishables would be transported in the train. Further, garments from places such as Tirupur, Salem and Karur could be aggregated in Bangalore en-route to Delhi, he said. In the South, the Southern Railways would market and aggregate the cargo and in the North the Northern Railways would take care of marketing and aggregation. The general parcel scale is Rs 352.73 per quintal and concession parcel scale (for grapes and perishables) is Rs 282.18 per quintal.
According to the official, the dedicated parcel van trains would be treated in the same way as passenger express trains normally the goods trains get a secondary treatment and often make way for express trains. While the Karnataka Express covers Bangalore-New Delhi in 42 hours, the parcel van train would cover the destination in 52 hours.
A city-based shipper said the service would no doubt offer fast service at competitive rates. However, a major concern was that cargoes would be left at the stations for the shippers to collect. This would mean loss of cargo at times. The department should provide a secure shed for cargoes, he added.
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